EC Reviews: An Executive Country Review on Turkey - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

EC Reviews: An Executive Country Review on Turkey
In the wake of economic growth, healthcare reforms, and large-scale industry investment, Turkish pharmaceutical companies are charting their own destiny.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 32, Issue 10, pp. 94-103

Biofarma has a lofty set of benchmarks for the future: 15 product launches per year; 13 new export countries by the end of 2009; and a top-10 revenue ranking in Turkey by 2013. Within five years, it hopes to sell 100 million boxes of its products per year and earn $50 million in exports by establishing partnerships in North Africa, the Middle East, and the CIS countries. The company plans to introduce new products in niche sectors such as antidepressants and hormones and in 2009, will begin construction on a new production site for oncologicals.

"What we are trying to do is maintain a high-value product in the niche market," says Umur Südekan, Biofarma's general manager. "Because there is less competition, it is easier to become the number one or two player."

The Post-Generics Pioneer

Profile: Eczacıbaşı

Elif Çelik, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
Pharma executives in Turkey reacted with industry-wide shock when, in July 2007, Eczacibasi sold 75% of its generics division to Czech pharma giant Zentiva (Prague). The deal was seen as a pharmaceutical pioneer abandoning a prospering industry it had helped establish. But the move was meant to help the 66-year-old manufacturing company shift its emphasis to distributing imported finished products through licensing agreements with multinationals such as Amgen (Thousand Oaks, CA) and to continue investing in healthcare advances for the Turkish market.

With the sale, Zentiva gained access to a vast portfolio of products in cardiovascular, central nervous system, and anti-infective areas and to the massive Lüleburgaz production site, a facility with an annual capacity of 380 million packs that received FDA approval in 2007. Eczacibasi-Zentiva has "shifted our whole portfolio strategy toward chronic treatments" and this year has "created a significant franchise in diabetes," says Elif çelik, general manager of Eczacibasi-Zentiva.

In July, Eczacibasi Holding, a prominent industrial group of 42 companies with $3.2 billion revenue in 2007, reaffirmed its commitment to pharmaceuticals with a 50% acquisition of the Turkish radiopharmaceuticals maker, Monrol. Eczacibasi Holding continues to invest in its hospital-supplies joint venture, Eczacibasi-Baxter, and in Eczacibasi-Corridor, Turkey's first home healthcare services company. Yet, the group expects its biggest growth from Eczacibasi Pharmaceuticals Marketing, a division concentrating on niche therapeutics, including biotech products for oncology. Sales from this company could reach $135 million this year, up 35% from 2007, according to company forecasts.

"Importing and distributing gives us the opportunity to expand as much as we want into different areas," says Sedat Birol, executive vice-president of Eczacibasi Pharmaceuticals Division. "We have great expectations from this company."

The "Kitchen" of Big Pharma

Profile: Embil Pharmaceuticals

Koral Embil, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
Spread across the back wall of a boardroom in Embil Pharmaceuticals' Istanbul headquarters are dozens of product registration approvals from regulatory authorities around the world. The wall represents the pride and promise of the 63-year-old company, which exports to more than 30 countries and has out-licensing agreements with multinational firms such as Bayer Schering Pharma (Berlin, Germany).

"We consider ourselves the kitchen of large pharmaceutical companies," says Koral Embil, vice-president of scientific affairs and business development. "We believe that if the product is innovative enough and if it can fill a need in the marketplace, the marketing partner will approach us and they will be committed to us."


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